A Southern Tale

As I’ve mentioned Beck (Adam) has been reading my blog.  Over the past couple of days he’s gotten real insight into the anger I sometimes feel when I get home at night after dealing with the public.   I put on a good face for him but I think he’s finally coming to understand.  It also explains why sometimes instead of spending the night at his house I get off the train early and stay at home.  It’s not that I like to sleep alone.  Or don’t like him.  Or any host of other reasons.  It’s simply that I’m in one HELL of a bad mood and it takes some time to get out of it.  And it’s best if I don’t have to be around people I like while I’m doing it.  It’s easy to understand why my co-workers drink so much.  I have friends that go out every night after work for drinks.  Of course they always complain about not having money but that’s another story.   For me, I come home and chill for an hour or three before I force myself to go to sleep.  And then I prey that I won’t dream about work as I go to sleep.

And all that being said tonight was a fucking AWESOME night.  Fucking Awesome.  I’ve mentioned to just about everyone who will listen to me that I hadn’t had one of those nights where everything goes your way and the crowds love you and everyone throws money at you and it’s an all round perfect night, in about four or five months.  The run is over.  Tonight rocked.  I walked with 15% of my sales after tipping out 5% of my sales.   Tonight I had the third highest sales total I’ve ever had and it was the second highest net tips ever.  Yes, it was a good night.  And for that I’m grateful.  Maybe it means I can keep this up for a while longer.

There were two little things that happened tonight that I’m going to bitch about.  

First we have a new manager.  His name is James and he’s British.  Not that either of those things is important.  He’s only been in our store for about three weeks.  He’s nice enough, but I don’t think he has a clue how our store is run.  He’s trying to do things the way they are done in a place where you do a 1/4 the business.  That’s not going to fly here.  He’s also a little more hands on than I like.  I like the managers to leave me and my tables alone on the whole.  I only want them to approach the table if I’ve asked them to or the tables specifically requested to see them.  Otherwise let me do my job.  It hadn’t been a problem till tonight when a table sent back two cheeseburgers because they weren’t cooked enough (more on this later).  I took the burgers back to the kitchen and following procedure alerted the kitchen manager to the problem, rang in two new cheeseburgers, well done, and then put a note on the order that it was a re-cook.  With burgers it usually only takes about two three minutes because we always have burgers on the grill.  So I’m standing there and James rushes up and says, do I need to go to the table?  Are they okay?  Should I offer to buy them dessert?  Should I…FUCK NO you should not go to the table.  You shouldn’t even go talk to them.  They are perfectly content (more on that later) and they are fine.  And we definitely don’t need to give them free shit just because they didn’t like how their burgers were fixed.  You do that in this restaurant, you better set up the free all you can eat dessert bar.  And then two minutes later I’m walking out of the kitchen and he’s talking to my table.  Get the FUCK away from them.  I don’t even know what he said to me after that.  I was just pissed.  And it’s a good thing he didn’t buy them anything because I was fully prepared to give him the check and tell him to handle the table if it was so important to him.

And now the table itself.

A couple of night’s ago my friend Bonnie said, “I’ll take a four top of French people who don’t speak a word of English who run up a 100 dollar check and then don’t tip over a country table any day.”

Her point was proven tonight.

I went to the lobby and asked if there were four people for dinner.

The guy raised his hand.  It was the only quick thing he did the whole rest of the time.  It took forty minutes to get them to the table because they were walking so damn slow.  I need to get you to the table before someone sits down at it.  

So I get them seated and before they’ve responded to my first hello I’ve realized that I’ve made a horrible mistake.  THEY ARE SOUTHERN!!!!!  WITH A BIG “S”.  And not just Southern.  They are hicks.    They are also the type of people who are miserable the minute they get out of bed.  I think I could have served them the best dinner ever, handed them the keys to a new car, given them the winning numbers to MEGA millions and they’d still have been unhappy.  I decided it was a challenge.  So I tried to kill them with kindness.  By the end I just wanted to kill them. 

I get the drink order.  An Iced Tea, a Diet Pepsi, a water and a Mt. Dew.  And no we don’t have sweet tea–don’t even ask.  I get their drinks and head back to the table and get their order.  It’s a appetizer combo platter.  None of them need it.  They are from the south, they haven’t missed a meal since Carter was president.  The rest of the meal is two pork sandwiches and two cheeseburgers.  VERY.  VERY.  Plain cheeseburgers.  Get that, we don’t want lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise …yes I fucking know what plain is.  

So I place the order and I drop off appetizer plates and I fill up the guys Mt. Dew thinking he needs a refill like I need a whole in my head but it’s my job so okay.  And I’m also running around like crazy taking care of other people.  When I hear someone scream “Maddog” at the top of their lungs.  I look over and one of them says, “We need plates!!!”  Where are the plates I brought you?  They were dirty.  Okay, no need to get upset I’ll get you new ones.  I bring the plates and we are back on track.  

I order the rest of the food and I run around like crazy taking care of everyone else.  I see their food get dropped so I run over and ask if there’s anything else I can get for them.  They grunt and say, “At least give us time to try the food first.”  UH.  OKAY.  About 30 seconds later someone shouts MADDOG across the dining room at me, I go over and the woman says, “This is gonna have to go back on de grill.  It ain’t cooked done.”  I take the plate from her.  It’s a perfectly cooked medium well burger just as she said she wanted but I’m not going to argue.  And then the son pipes up, “Yeah, mine ain’t done neither.  I take both plates and head to the kitchen.  See the above paragraph.  I go back and explain to the table that the burgers will take a couple of minutes but they shouldn’t be too long.  I refill Mt. Dew boys drink again and I’m off.  By now they are getting snippy and it’s clear they are not happy with any thing.  And every time I pass by the table they seem to be more and more irritated.  I just keep smiling.  Finally the burgers are done and I drop them off at the table and ask if there’s anything else they need.  And pay attention here.  This is when I was done.  One of the women eating the pork sandwich took her glass which only had ice in it, held it up in my face and shook it like a baby rattle to indicate she needed more soda.  OH, NO SHE DIDNH’T  OH NO SHE DID NOT!  I held up my finger and said I’ll get to that as soon as I can, and never went back.  I’ll be happy to fill your drink up seventy two times.  But ask nice.  Don’t shake your shit at me and expect me to jump.  She never did get her glass filled.  So I go take their plates away and I ask them if there’s anything else they need and they say no.  By this time they put the tip on the table.  It’s 4.00 dollars.  Their tab is 90.  Hmmm.  I say I’ll be right back with the check and as I do, glass rattling lady says, “You can put the appetizer on my tab.”  Of course it’s going to be on your tab.  The whole check is going to be on your tab.  There is only ONE tab.  Yours.  If you wanted separate checks then you should have asked.  Before you rattled your glass at me.  Before you put down your four dollar tip.  And before you pissed me off.  I dropped off the check, told them I’d take it as soon as they were ready and left.  

I guess they managed, about 5 minutes later they called me over and handed the money to me, including my four dollar tip.  And they walked away.

And as I walked away I remembered sometimes the best tip, is NO TIP AT ALL.

I’ll take French people who don’t speak English and don’t tip, than hick southerners who run you ragged, complain about it all, and then don’t tip.  Yeap.  I’ll take the French any day.  And remember these are my people I’m talking about.

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3 thoughts on “A Southern Tale

  1. Urspo May 12, 2009 / 10:00

    Once again, I very much admire the work that you do. I wouldn’t last a day.
    I do try to be polite always, but your stories of work remind me to be particularly kind to overworked waiters And waitresses.

  2. Sarah May 13, 2009 / 13:10

    Yelled for you? Across a restaurant? See this is why Northerners think the way they do about Southerners.

    Okay, in fairness, I had a table yelling, “Miss, Miss, Miss, Miss!” I went to them and asked what they needed and they wanted to know my name. I said, “Why? So you can shout it across the room?”

  3. javabear May 14, 2009 / 14:53

    Alas, these are my people too. I don’t want them. Not all southerners are asshats, of course. But there are enough of the bad ones to make life miserable. I am ready to get away from here.

    I’m very glad you had an otherwise good night, though.

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